Ecodiesel as a short-distance commuter? Issues?

Dalko43

Explorer
Depends on the situation and years of trucks being talked about. Most modern trucks get fantastic mileage compared to their older counterparts. For example my 1990 F250 5.8 averages about 13 with careful driving. The 1990 7.3 crew cab got 19 consistent with it breaking over 20 on many highway trips. In my scenario the diesel option is MUCH cheaper to run despite the extra cost differences. Now with modern trucks getting 18-20 in a gasser is about the same as their diesel counterparts so it really only makes sense to go diesel if extensive towing is going to be a factor. If I ever win the lotto I'll probably spend the coin and actually get a modern truck

Most modern gasoline trucks (1/2 tons and midsize) are lucky to get 17-18 mpg combined. I know that certain engines (ecoboost) are rated higher than that, but go look at the real world results: most of the owners are getting far lower than the EPA ratings in real-world conditions.

The Ram ecodiesel can easily squeeze out low 20's and the 2.8l Duramax can get into the mid to high 20's for combined driving. There is a significant efficiency discrepancy between the 2 engine types. The tradeoff is that diesels cost more to maintain and run.

Gasoline engines have become somewhat more efficient, but the OEM’s have also been using lots of little tricks to enhance efficiency (front air dam’s, higher gearing, cylinder de-activation). When these trucks get used for offroading or overlanding, a lot of those tricks (and their efficiency gains) fall by the wayside.
 

phsycle

Adventurer
Since people seem to put a lot of credibility on Fuelly, here are some stats:

Colorado 2.8 Diesel: 2018 - 2018 - 23.6MPG (45 vehicles); 2017 -23.9MPG (68); 2016 - 23.9MPG (117).

Colorado 3.6 Gas: 2018 - 18.3MPG (58 vehicles); 2017 - 19.4MPG (60); 2016 - 19.5MPG (141)

So given diesel MPG avg = 23.8 and gas = 19.0, and fuel cost of $3.13 (diesel) and $2.445 (gas) (current national avg), in the end, fuel "savings" just aren't there. It's a wash. Actually, costs a tiny bit more to run diesel annually.

This doesn't take into consideration the up-front buy in cost of diesel, either. Unless you tow quite frequently, cost savings just aren't there.
 
This doesn't take into consideration the up-front buy in cost of diesel, either. Unless you tow quite frequently, cost savings just aren't there.
You likely will recoup some if not most of the upfront buy in cost when you sell. But, I still don't believe it's enough to justify the added expense of the diesel once all the factors are considered as you pointed out.
 

deserteagle56

Adventurer
Most modern gasoline trucks (1/2 tons and midsize) are lucky to get 17-18 mpg combined. I know that certain engines (ecoboost) are rated higher than that, but go look at the real world results: most of the owners are getting far lower than the EPA ratings in real-world conditions.
A screen shot of part of the Excel spreadsheet I maintain for fuel for my 2016 F150 Supercab with the 3.5 Ecoboost:
Mileage Dec 2018.jpg

The speed limit is 80 around here and traffic moves generally a bit faster than that. So 20.9 mpg since I bought the truck new in May 2016 I'm not complaining about. I've gotten as high as 24.5 but the LEAST I've gotten is 17.1 which involved 4-LO, a lot of switchbacks and a couple thousand feet elevation gain. Granted, most of the time the truck is either empty or just packing around my Yamaha Kodiak and camping gear so around 1000 lbs.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
A screen shot of part of the Excel spreadsheet I maintain for fuel for my 2016 F150 Supercab with the 3.5 Ecoboost:
View attachment 487957

The speed limit is 80 around here and traffic moves generally a bit faster than that. So 20.9 mpg since I bought the truck new in May 2016 I'm not complaining about. I've gotten as high as 24.5 but the LEAST I've gotten is 17.1 which involved 4-LO, a lot of switchbacks and a couple thousand feet elevation gain. Granted, most of the time the truck is either empty or just packing around my Yamaha Kodiak and camping gear so around 1000 lbs.
That's great man....go check out fuelly or go read some of mpg tests done by any number of car media sites.

You may find yourself meeting or exceeding the EPA ratings...a lot of other people don't.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
Since people seem to put a lot of credibility on Fuelly, here are some stats:

Colorado 2.8 Diesel: 2018 - 2018 - 23.6MPG (45 vehicles); 2017 -23.9MPG (68); 2016 - 23.9MPG (117).

Colorado 3.6 Gas: 2018 - 18.3MPG (58 vehicles); 2017 - 19.4MPG (60); 2016 - 19.5MPG (141)

So given diesel MPG avg = 23.8 and gas = 19.0, and fuel cost of $3.13 (diesel) and $2.445 (gas) (current national avg), in the end, fuel "savings" just aren't there. It's a wash. Actually, costs a tiny bit more to run diesel annually.

This doesn't take into consideration the up-front buy in cost of diesel, either. Unless you tow quite frequently, cost savings just aren't there.
You're using today's fuel prices as the basis for that calculation; the current 60-70 cent discrepancy represents a snapshot in time. In reality the fuel price discrepancy has been much lower (20-30 cents depending on region) for most of the year. Just food for thought.

That aside, I wasn't making a financial argument in favor of diesel. I am saying the claim that modern gasoline engines are just as efficient as modern diesel ones is unequivocally false. Modern gassers use lots of little bandaid's to enhance their efficiency. All things being roughly equal (gearing, aerodynamics, vehicle weight, ect.) the diesel which produces comparable torque to that of the gasoline will be more efficient...at least with the current technology.

Edit: And I fully appreciate that fuelly isn't 100% indicative of what the overall driver population is getting for mpg's, but it is a data point worth consideration, as I don't see why anyone would sign up and deliberately report low numbers. So too are the mpg tests done by numerous car sites.

On the other hand, I have less faith in the facebook pages and forums where owners stroke their own ego's and put out big fish tales about their best-case mpg's.
 
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malibubts

Adventurer
Something that I don't think people are taking into account very much are long term fuel costs.

First the point was made about fuel costs at this moment, and while not wrong, anything can happen moving forward. It also doesn't toss out the previous advantage in the past X years a truck was owned, this obviously doesn't matter for someone buying now, but if you've owned for a while fuel prices would have to stay at this point for several years to negate the advantage to this point. Not to say this can't happen, but fuel prices are pretty volatile on the whole.

Second are seasonal changes in fuel prices. I'm not sure exactly where a lot of folks posting are from, but here in OH we are in winter fuel territory. Diesel can rise anywhere from $0.20 to $0.40 a gallon during the winter due to the additives that must be put in to prevent gelling. My fuel cost has gone up about $0.30 on average in the winter. Gasoline is also affected by seasonal differences, albeit not as drastically. Typically gas is a little more expensive in the summer due to the additional additives used then. My point here is using prices for this point in time will yield the worst results for the diesel as prices are higher for it's fuel and gasoline is lower.

As I've said, anything can change moving forward with fuel prices. At this point in time buying a diesel may not be as advantageous, but from my calculations posted earlier things would have to be pretty bad on the fuel cost front for a long time to get me upside down.

I guess what I'm trying to say is the comments that "Diesel is always better on economy" or "Diesel has lost all of it's advantages" are bad statements to make. If you are looking at getting a diesel, you need to look at local fuel prices long term and how you use your vehicle to gauge what your fuel economy will be and if your driving habits make sense for the application. In my area with how I use my truck it makes sense for me, but that won't apply to everyone.
 
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Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
Making the assumption that the diesel doesn't need expensive repairs during all these fuel savings.

Get the correct engine for the task at hand. Fuel economy is a poor data point in the decision.
 

AZBaobab

Observer
No experience here but, maybe drive onE of them, then a F150 diesel. Not sure what your time line is for making the purchase but the Silverado / Sierra will be coming out with a I-6 cyl diesel right away as well.
I've been eyeing those as well as the Colorado/Canyon diesels as well.
Timeline is flexible, but the budget isn't. :)

Working within what I've got, I'm kind of limited in options. I could do cash for a 1500 Ram with the 3.0, but the Canyons/Colorado's haven't come down enough yet.
 
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